With the help of a government investment, Canadian tech and research is going to be a part of one of the most important scientific advancements in the last 25 years.
The Canadian government has announced a $10 million investment into the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) located at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. The LHC is the most powerful particle accelerator in the world.
Along with this investment, experts at Vancouver’s TRIUMF lab will lead production of key elements for the accelerator as part of a $2 million in-kind contribution.
“Great science knows no borders,” said Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities. “Great scientists know that success lies in strong collaboration. The Canadian science community is internationally recognized and valued as an important leader and partner in particle physics. By supporting our outstanding researchers, engineers and technicians, we enable them to work with our international partners to further our reputation as a global leader in particle physics.
The funding will be used to create five superconducting crab cavity cryomodules. Crab cavities help increase the overall luminosity of collisions within the LHC, and the luminosity of a collider “is proportional to the number of collisions that occur in a given amount of time. The higher the luminosity, the more collisions, and the more data the experiments can gather to allow them to observe rare processes,” according to CERN.
This new Canadian funding will create the advanced super deep freezers that will house those crab cavities. When they are completed, they will cool down subatomic particles to just above absolute zero, allowing scientists to manipulate and track particles before they smash together. These kinds of experiments have a multitude of reasons for being conducted, but the main reason is that they can track how matter was first created and detail the origins of the universe.
“We are very pleased with Canada’s contribution to the LHC project, which is another important milestone in a long-standing, fruitful collaboration with CERN,” said Fabiola Gianotti, Director-General of CERN. “The technology and expertise of TRIUMF and Canadian industries, working with the strong particle physics community in the country, will be crucial in building very ambitious accelerator components for the next major project at CERN.”
Companies across Canada—with a focus on B.C. businesses—will build these super freezers. The hopeful outcome is that this technology will help CERN conduct more particle collisions than ever. In addition, this project will call on researchers from several Canadian institutions including McGill University, York University, the University of Toronto and others to ensure it is completed efficiently.
Canada has worked with CERN before, namely with the ATLAS project that currently boasts over 200 Canadian researchers working in experimental particle physics.